'Delightfully Irreverent, Yet Effective' review: The Legend of Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses

There was a once-famous internet feud between noted movie reviewer Roger Ebert and all of geekdom some time ago. This feud consisted of Mr. Ebert’s opinion of how video games weren’t art, and geekdom’s response. The feud burned bright for a few months, and then Mr. Ebert relented to the storm of nerd-rage. While he didn’t agree that games aren’t inherently art, he said that games could be art for those who play them.

Well, let’s fast forward to January 10, 2012. The argument has been settled for good.

Last night, my wife and I were privy to an event that makes me proud to be a gamer, and a nerd, and a fan of music. The world premiere of The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses took place last night to an overflow crowd at the Meyerson Symphony Center, and folks…it was glorious. 

But I knew it would be. I had extremely high expectations for the treatment of Koji Kondo’s beautiful music. I had only a moment of worry that the music would be given it’s due respect. And the moment passed very quickly at the spectacle that unfolded.

As soon as Kathryn and I walked into the Meyerson, we knew it was going to be a magical night. Kids happily prancing along, literally dragging their parents to their seats, in a wonderfully ironic role-reversal; other kids and adults cosplaying (for the uninitiated, ‘Costume Play’) various iterations of Link, Zelda, and even the evil Ganondorf Dragmire. This wasn’t your stereotypical night at the symphony. And it was amazing.

And the concert hadn’t even started yet.

Something else that you won’t normally see at a symphonic concert is the addition of a giant video screen with the crest of Hyrule emblazoned upon it. This was part of the presentation that helped tie the experience of playing the games to the music that accompanied it, and it was extremely effective.

The night began with a prelude that displayed all 25 years of Zelda games on the screen, as new arrangements of popular themes within the games soared above the stage, complete with choral arrangements that complimented perfectly the scenes seen onscreen. A huge build to the end brought chills to my arms as it finished, and the applause was thunderous and immediate, as the excitement of all of those in attendance boiled over in anticipation. I couldn’t wait for the rest.

An introduction to the format followed by conductor Eímear Noone, who has been with the project since its inception. She was happy to explain that the music had, indeed, been formatted to that of a symphony in four movements. She also mentioned that although it was traditional that an audience not clap between movements (at least in the modern era), she invited the audience to show their appreciation after each movement, “as this is a special night.”

And it began. 

As is the case with symphonies, each movement centers on a theme or motif. The Zelda symphony does that by tying to a particular game in the series, while also attempting to stay near sonata form. Movement I was an Allegro based on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I can’t think of a better way to start the piece than basing it on this game. It is considered by most to be the best in the series, and the accompanying themes realized in a fully orchestral setting immediately brought a smile to my face and a squeeze to my hand from my wife. As Link’s progression through the game unfolded on screen, the music punctuated each scene from the game: Title Theme, Enter Ganondorf, Zelda’s Lullaby, Hyrule Field Morning Theme, Lost Woods, The Temple of Time, Boss Battle, Ganondorf’s Battle, and Last Battle, with a wink onscreen and in music to Majora’s Mask. Nice touch.

I was blown away. So was the audience. Movement I over. Audience eruption. Amazing. On to Movement II.

Movement II wove the story of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker together. Motifs from Outset Island, Ocean, Aryll’s Kidnapping, Forsaken Fortress Invasion 1, a moment of The Tower of the Gods, Sealed Hyrule Castle, and of course Ganondorf Battle and Farewell Hyrule King round out a wonderfully light Andante movement, with excellent work by the strings and high winds to do justice to the playful themes that were associated with The Wind Waker. More smiles all around and heavy applause after this movement, which brought us to intermission.

Not a normal thing to have an intermission mid-symphony, but then again, it was smart on all levels to have one, giving more opportunity to the audience to buy t-shirts and posters, and also sip spirits. One thing of note that was wonderful was that instead of the normal five-minute-to-curtain chime, we were treated to the ringing of the bells of the bell tower of Termina from Majora’s Mask. Details make all the difference, folks.

Upon settling in, we were treated to an Intermezzo or Entr’Acte of sorts, with the playing of Great Fairy Fountain in its entirety. Incredible work by the harpists as immediately I was brought back to every game selection screen since A Link to the Past. Airy and ethereal, the theme allows you to become fully immersed again into the world of Zelda. Another nice touch of detail for the musical program. It’s as if to say, “We had a break, but now, let’s get back into the game. Figuratively and literally.” Very nice work.

Movement III told the tale of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. The choral arrangement of the Title Theme was brilliantly arranged to begin. This segued into the full treatment of the theme in the style of the game and it cascaded over us, with layer upon layer of sound building to the moment that the Scherzo truly began. Hyrule Field marked the build to the main part of the movement, with flashes to Ordon Village, a playful turn by the wind section, with a trumpet call to a choral section which was really well arranged. Then a return to motifs from the Title Theme, which transitioned to the King of Light and Shadow section which was really creepy with the long-bowed string section under a choral part which made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. This went right into a mesh of Fight Against Zant, Boss Beast Ganon, and Boss Ganondorf (Swordfight), which was as satisfying to hear as merely an observer as it was to play through it. Movement III ends with a really wonderful full orchestra treatment of Midna’s Suite, and if your heart wasn’t pounding after this movement, you just aren’t human. An incredible soundscape. 

Movement IV was a huge surprise to me. Conductor Noone told us that this was the first time the Symphony of the Goddesses would be performed in its entirety at the top of the show. My assumption was that they would use the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword as its basis, because so far, they’ve used the major game releases since Ocarina of Time. Boy, was I ever wrong, and am I ever glad I was. The beginning of the final Allegro was too much for the audience to bear as “Time of the Falling Rain,” from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was played, the audience burst into applause and cheers as the orchestra played, and they never skipped a beat, deftly taking us into the dungeon of Hyrule Castle to free Zelda the first time. What followed was a great arrangement of “Hyrule Castle,” which was as huge and full as I ever imagined it could sound. A beautiful transition led us to a pure treatment of “Zelda’s Lullaby,” beginning with Oboe, handing off to Clarinet, and finishing with Flute before the layering the rest of the orchestra in such a powerful emotional upheaval that it brought tears to my eyes. I smiled in spite of my tears and couldn’t wait to hear what came next. I wasn’t disappointed when I heard strains of “Kakariko Village,” “The Lost Woods,” “Priest” (Alternate Ganondorf’s Theme), and an awesome display of onomatopoeic choral arrangement when Zelda is drawn into the Dark World by Aghanim.  aThe movement hammered to its inevitable conclusion with “Dark World,” “Ganon’s Message,” ”Battle with Ganon,” and “Triforce Chamber.” I was openly weeping at this point as a truncated “Ending Theme” brought us home. The audience applauded and cheered as they immediately sprung to their feet as one, showing their gratitude for a job well done.

With apologies to the late Billy Mays, but wait…there’s more!

A curtain call by Conductor Noone turned into an encore performance of “Gerudo Valley” from Ocarina of Time, which further incited the audience into squees of joy. And to the casual fan, this might not be a big deal, but to the hardcore, this theme is a diamond in the rough. It is the theme to Ganondorf’s homeland. It borrows a lot from Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti western motifs, and was a wonderful display for the xylophones and the rest of the percussion section as the piece rushes to the trumpet call that feels like a frenzied chase scene with Spanish Guitar overtones. The sneaky fight through the Gerudo Fortress was portrayed on screen and in music with zeal and brought back the anxiety of playing through the area that was so challenging back in my college days. I was so excited to hear that it made me want to dance. Another eruption of cheers and a standing ovation, and another curtain call.

But wait, there’s more. Another encore.

No video onscreen, and an introduction by Conductor Noone as “so familiar I won’t even tell you what it is.” Just a lush arrangement of “The Ballad of the Wind Fish,” all the way back to The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. It was a rather ethereal treatment of the music, more beautiful that could ever be reproduced on a Game Boy back in the day. Granted, it was a rather sedate way to end the night, but after all the cheering and sensory overload, it was much like ending the evening with Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade of Pale.” It was gorgeous, beautiful music, but it was a little more obscure than the conductor describes. I know why it was included, because the themes in Link’s Awakening are all based around music and magical instruments, and this was the end credits to that game. Like I said, I get it, but not everybody did. Still, it was beautiful, although I would put it as first encore and end with “Gerudo Valley.” The audience ate it up anyway.

Wow. As Frankie Valli would say, “Oh what a night.” This concert was a love letter to 25 years of Zelda fans, and they got it so right. I had an amazing time reliving memories that I associated with each of the games, some bad, some great, but all unforgettable.

Hearing this music arranged this way just made the memories wash over me in waves. I still remember getting the first The Legend of Zelda as a reward for making straight As in third grade. I remember scouring issues of Nintendo Power for news about delays for Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Seeing the gold cartridge peeking through the package was like getting a glimpse of a Wonka Golden Ticket. Secretly dialing long distance to Redmond, Washington for tips on Nintendo’s Power Line for A Link to the Past. Buying Ocarina of Time before I ever owned a Nintendo 64. Hanging out with one of my best friends all summer to beat The Wind Waker. Waiting in line at Gamestop to pick up my Nintendo Wii so I could rush home, set up the console as quickly as possible, just to pop in Twilight Princess and be too tired to play. And finally, playing through the entirety of Skyward Sword with my wife watching every moment. The only thing missing is playing a Zelda game with my kids, and the circle would be complete. Experiential memories will do that…they bring back the kid in you, evoke emotions that you experienced as a nine-year-old and could only replicate with the latest iteration of Zelda. I know some people may scoff or pity me for having those feelings, but it’s probably because they don’t have that kind of connection to hold on to. Really, I feel sorry for them.

If there was any complaint of overlooking a detail, it would have to be the lack of a program. No overpriced collector’s program at the swag counter, and no Playbill or generic program handed to us as we enter. It’s a shame, really, since all the other details were so well-thought out and handled with such a fan’s and completionist’s eye. There’s my only suggestion. And really, it’s just to have swag to hoard on my part. For those who have no idea about the music, it wouldn’t give them an excuse to hate or dismiss it with one phrase descriptions…if they had a program to refer to. I dunno. This was a concert for fans that really don’t need descriptions or explanations, but for the people who spend their time placing asterisks on anything associated with video games, why give them an excuse to keep the hate alive? Even as a fan, I went back and listened to some of the music in its rudimentary forms and made notes of what might be in the concert. I guess some folks can’t be bothered with a little research.

The concert was amazing, and my wife and I are thinking about going to Austin in June for another listen. Who knows? Maybe the few quibbles I have will be addressed, maybe not. Who cares? It’s freaking Zelda, man. I lived this music through playing the games. It is like the soundtrack to my childhood.

Brad Venable: She is a noted Los Angeles casting director and voice talent. Tonight, the Voice Actors Studio welcomes Mary Lynn Wissner. 
How did you get started in the voiceover industry?
Mary Lynn Wissner: Right after I graduated from college, I became an assistant voiceover agent to Don Pitts, who at the time, was the #1 VO agent in LA after two-and-a-half years got into VO casting and have been doing it ever since.
How is the industry different now than when you started?  
The internet changed everything.  When I started, in the 80’s, we FedExed auditions, recorded on 1/4” and cassette tapes…everything was done on the phone.
What’s the most valuable piece of advice you got when starting out, and does that apply today?  
Stay true to yourself…no one else gives a more authentic reading than YOU.
If you were starting out today, would you be doing things differently?  
No  Obviously I would be on the computer more today than back then, but I think that because I was always on the phone, as an agent, then casting director, I made some wonderful relationships by talking and getting to know my clients. I have producers and ad agencies that have been loyal to me for 20 years!
Let’s talk about workshops and classes for a moment; what kinds of VO education do you offer?  
I do all levels, beginning, intermediate, and working pros. I also do a kids class twice a year.
And when *you* take classes, if geography and logistics meant nothing, whose class would you attend?  
Classes and LA and NY only because that’s where the major players are.
Which is exactly why I created Superhero University… 
Right! So Dallas would be on that list, too!
Many people don’t know the exact role of a casting director in the industry. For you, what is the process of casting a project?   
I get hired by ad agencies, production companies, game producers, animation houses, basically anyone looking to find a voice for their production.  I work with the producer or copywriter or director on what their project is, what the tone of the project is, where it plays and what is the kind of voice or voices they want. 
Depending on if it’s union or non-union, I go through my data base of talent I know. Now, these talent are from all over the country…people I’ve met in workshops, through submissions or have worked with before, that don’t have representation. I also call agents and tell them who I would like to see from their agency.  Sometimes the talent will come to my studio for the audition, sometimes I will send them or their agent the specs and copy to have them then send me an mp3 audition.
As a casting director, what are the best traits in a talent?  
Being professional.  On time, rehearsed and ready to go.
Now, you aren’t *just* an “L.A. Casting Director,” are you?
Well, I am also a talent too!  I have been a v/o talent for the last 15 years I am represented by William Morris/Endeavor here in LA and have been fortunate enough to have voiced some great campaigns (Walmart, Blue Cross and Hallmark) as well numerous industrials.  And of course, I am a voice over coach, which I LOVE!  I have enjoyed teaching workshops and privates for years.  I have nurtured some of today’s most successful v/o pros and it really is quite rewarding.
How much has the ‘online game’ changed the industry, and is it a good or bad thing? 
Tough question….it’s good and bad, I think. Good in that it’s a speedy delivery tool, and bad in that there is no personal connection anymore.  However, it is a really good thing in that so many more people, across the country and world, can now participate in calls that used to be just limited to major market (LA,NY) talent before.
What is your relationship with the unions? Do you cast both union and non-union talent?  
I have a great relationship with the agents.  As a casting director, I am not affiliated with any union and I can cast union or non union…and I cast both!
Have you ever been forced to cast yourself for projects?  
No, I am never forced to cast myself.  I will only put myself on a project if a producer asks me to, otherwise I feel like it’s a conflict of interest.
So, do you voice from home, and if not, do you have a studio at VoicesVoicecasting?  
I have a home studio and a studio at Voices Voicecasting.
What’s the most memorable project you’ve worked on as a casting director? As a talent?  
As a casting director,there are many but probably the most proud,hmmmmm.   I am very proud and won awards for the “talking cars” campaign for CHEVRON.  I have also done some casting for History Channel and am especially proud of a series I did a few years ago called, The Color of War’.  It was a 13-part series where I had to cast about 30-50 voices per episode.  It turned out beautifully and being the daughter of a WWII vet, it meant a lot to me. I also cast quite a few voices for “Shrek” and that was a ton of fun.
As a talent, probably the work I’ve voiced for Walmart.  Not only have I done a lot of their commercials but I have also voiced the point of purchase commercials for their stores.  I have also done quite a bit of looping on various films which is really cool.
On Bob Bergen’s panel at VOICE, you said that “everything is acting in voiceover.” Do you still stand by that? Is everything in voiceover some form of acting?  
Absolutely!  You can have the most amazing voice but if you can’t act, it’s just an amazing voice.  You have to be able to make the copy your own.  Everything in voiceover is acting…making the words come to life.
And so we begin our classroom with the questionnaire invented by the great Bernard Pivot, and used by the incomparable James Lipton at the Actor’s Studio…What is your favorite word?  
Love that you’re doing this as I love that show!! Okay, favorite word:  Booked!
What is your least favorite word?  
The “cun..” word…so nasty!
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?  
My children.
What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?  
Wasted time.
What sound or noise do you love?  
Nothing better than kids giggling.
What sound or noise do you hate?  
The blower machines gardeners use.
I think I share that one with you. What is your favorite curse word?  
Crap!
What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?   
Writer and Broadway superstar.
What profession would you not like to do?  
Sewer maintenance
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?  
"Hi Mary Lynn, I’m so proud of you!  Your family is waiting for you."
Mary Lynn, thank you so much for your time. Any parting words of wisdom to the talent out there?  
Believe in yourself, get out of your way and trust your instincts.  Peace!
Mary Lynn will be in Dallas, Texas this July 23rd for her workshop, “Book It!” To join us there, call Mary Lynn at (818) 716-8865 or email her at voices@voicesvoicecasting.com for registration information. Goodnight!

Brad Venable: She is a noted Los Angeles casting director and voice talent. Tonight, the Voice Actors Studio welcomes Mary Lynn Wissner. 

How did you get started in the voiceover industry?

Mary Lynn Wissner: Right after I graduated from college, I became an assistant voiceover agent to Don Pitts, who at the time, was the #1 VO agent in LA after two-and-a-half years got into VO casting and have been doing it ever since.


How is the industry different now than when you started?  

The internet changed everything.  When I started, in the 80’s, we FedExed auditions, recorded on 1/4” and cassette tapes…everything was done on the phone.

What’s the most valuable piece of advice you got when starting out, and does that apply today?  

Stay true to yourself…no one else gives a more authentic reading than YOU.

If you were starting out today, would you be doing things differently?  

No  Obviously I would be on the computer more today than back then, but I think that because I was always on the phone, as an agent, then casting director, I made some wonderful relationships by talking and getting to know my clients. I have producers and ad agencies that have been loyal to me for 20 years!

Let’s talk about workshops and classes for a moment; what kinds of VO education do you offer?  

I do all levels, beginning, intermediate, and working pros. I also do a kids class twice a year.

And when *you* take classes, if geography and logistics meant nothing, whose class would you attend?  

Classes and LA and NY only because that’s where the major players are.

Which is exactly why I created Superhero University…

Right! So Dallas would be on that list, too!

Many people don’t know the exact role of a casting director in the industry. For you, what is the process of casting a project?  

I get hired by ad agencies, production companies, game producers, animation houses, basically anyone looking to find a voice for their production.  I work with the producer or copywriter or director on what their project is, what the tone of the project is, where it plays and what is the kind of voice or voices they want.

Depending on if it’s union or non-union, I go through my data base of talent I know. Now, these talent are from all over the country…people I’ve met in workshops, through submissions or have worked with before, that don’t have representation. I also call agents and tell them who I would like to see from their agency.  Sometimes the talent will come to my studio for the audition, sometimes I will send them or their agent the specs and copy to have them then send me an mp3 audition.

As a casting director, what are the best traits in a talent?  

Being professional.  On time, rehearsed and ready to go.

Now, you aren’t *just* an “L.A. Casting Director,” are you?

Well, I am also a talent too!  I have been a v/o talent for the last 15 years I am represented by William Morris/Endeavor here in LA and have been fortunate enough to have voiced some great campaigns (Walmart, Blue Cross and Hallmark) as well numerous industrials.  And of course, I am a voice over coach, which I LOVE!  I have enjoyed teaching workshops and privates for years.  I have nurtured some of today’s most successful v/o pros and it really is quite rewarding.

How much has the ‘online game’ changed the industry, and is it a good or bad thing? 

Tough question….it’s good and bad, I think. Good in that it’s a speedy delivery tool, and bad in that there is no personal connection anymore.  However, it is a really good thing in that so many more people, across the country and world, can now participate in calls that used to be just limited to major market (LA,NY) talent before.

What is your relationship with the unions? Do you cast both union and non-union talent?  

I have a great relationship with the agents.  As a casting director, I am not affiliated with any union and I can cast union or non union…and I cast both!

Have you ever been forced to cast yourself for projects?  

No, I am never forced to cast myself.  I will only put myself on a project if a producer asks me to, otherwise I feel like it’s a conflict of interest.

So, do you voice from home, and if not, do you have a studio at VoicesVoicecasting?  

I have a home studio and a studio at Voices Voicecasting.

What’s the most memorable project you’ve worked on as a casting director? As a talent?  

As a casting director,there are many but probably the most proud,hmmmmm.   I am very proud and won awards for the “talking cars” campaign for CHEVRON.  I have also done some casting for History Channel and am especially proud of a series I did a few years ago called, The Color of War’.  It was a 13-part series where I had to cast about 30-50 voices per episode.  It turned out beautifully and being the daughter of a WWII vet, it meant a lot to me. I also cast quite a few voices for “Shrek” and that was a ton of fun.


As a talent, probably the work I’ve voiced for Walmart.  Not only have I done a lot of their commercials but I have also voiced the point of purchase commercials for their stores.  I have also done quite a bit of looping on various films which is really cool.

On Bob Bergen’s panel at VOICE, you said that “everything is acting in voiceover.” Do you still stand by that? Is everything in voiceover some form of acting?  

Absolutely!  You can have the most amazing voice but if you can’t act, it’s just an amazing voice.  You have to be able to make the copy your own.  Everything in voiceover is acting…making the words come to life.

And so we begin our classroom with the questionnaire invented by the great Bernard Pivot, and used by the incomparable James Lipton at the Actor’s Studio…What is your favorite word?  

Love that you’re doing this as I love that show!! Okay, favorite word:  Booked!

What is your least favorite word?  

The “cun..” word…so nasty!

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?  

My children.

What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?  

Wasted time.

What sound or noise do you love?  

Nothing better than kids giggling.

What sound or noise do you hate?  

The blower machines gardeners use.

I think I share that one with you. What is your favorite curse word?  

Crap!

What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?   

Writer and Broadway superstar.

What profession would you not like to do?  

Sewer maintenance

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?  

"Hi Mary Lynn, I’m so proud of you!  Your family is waiting for you."

Mary Lynn, thank you so much for your time. Any parting words of wisdom to the talent out there?  

Believe in yourself, get out of your way and trust your instincts.  Peace!

Mary Lynn will be in Dallas, Texas this July 23rd for her workshop, “Book It!” To join us there, call Mary Lynn at (818) 716-8865 or email her at voices@voicesvoicecasting.com for registration information. Goodnight!

Superhero University presents: “Book It!” with MaryLynn Wissner!

On July 23rd, Dallas gets a taste of how the real world of voiceover works, when L.A. Casting Director and all-around nice person MaryLynn Wissner comes to Dallas to help give voiceover talents a cut-to-the-chase look at the techniques, tricks, methods, and winning secrets to today’s most successful VO talent!

Over the last 22 years, Mary Lynn has cast thousands of voices for thousands of tv, radio, animation, games, narrations, books and more! Mary Lynn has directed, nurtured and guided hundreds and hundreds of talent across the country into the world of voiceovers. Learn from someone who is in the voice-over booth every day…casting, working closely with ad agencies, production companies and game producers.

Mary Lynn is in the game and shares with you the inside secrets that can get you bookings! You’ll get in the booth, find out what you’re doing wrong, right, and how to enhance what you already do! Because of the internet and home studios,

there are now more opportunities than ever before…casting directors, like Mary Lynn, can now throw the casting net out wider than just L.A…GET HEARD!

In this special one-day intensive, you will learn:

  • What Casting Directors and Producers want to hear
  • Important skills for self-direction: how to breakdown a script, make the right choices and make your auditions stand out!
  • How to turn Blocked into Booked! Book National spots & campaigns!
  • Easy home studio set-up & successful marketing ideas

Cost is just $285! Summer School was never so cheap…or so valuable!

Call or email MaryLynn at Voices Voicecasting today at: (818) 716-8865 or voices@voicesvoicecasting.com 

PayPal, checks and payment plans accepted. 

Better grab a spot…space is limited!

WHERE: Cake Mix Recording

17817 Davenport Road, #110 Dallas, Texas 75252

WHEN: Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 - 10 AM-6 PM 

Everybody know that the best cakes, like the best sound is fixed in the mix! Never been to the gorgeous Cake Mix Recording? Check it out right here!

Superhero University presents: “Audiobooks A-Z” with Vanessa Hart!

Vanessa Hart is bringing Part 2 in her highly acclaimed series “The Power of Five” to Dallas, Texas on August 13 at Cake Mix Recording!

In this 1-day intensive you will learn:

  • Your audiobook demo: General Specs and Helpful Hints (we will also be working your choices behind the mic and you’ll have those recordings to take home with you)
  • How to prep your manuscript and get your research done (includes how to make a character sheet, Chapter notes and much more)
  • Character Analysis (shortcuts and tips on finding the voices you need and holding them throughout the audiobook)
  • How to find your narrators voice (powerful questions to ask yourself that will give your narrator clarity and purpose), and
  • Marketing, Home Studio needs, Rates, and MORE!

We will also work on breathing techniques and you’ll take home a breathing CD along with your copy of Audiobooks A-Z:  30+ pages loaded with information and resources to get you started in your audiobook narrator career.

Lunch will be provided. Please bring a thumb drive so you can take home your performances.

Workshop hours: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, with a lunch break.

Cost is $350 (get $60 early earlybird discount until July 1st!)That’s just $290!


To sign up, email vanessa@vanessahart.info

To receive your discount please use reference code: DESP

Space is limited, so sign up today!

Everybody loves cake! Never been to the gorgeous Cake Mix Recording? Check it out right here!

Special thanks to:

VO Planet! 

One lucky participant will receive 1 full year free to this wonderful casting site (value: $260) and all participants will receive a discount on membership! ($50 off)


Vanessa Hart!Vanessa Hart is an in-demand voice-over artist, actor, and speaker whose work is heard every day all across the country.

She has performed hundreds of commercials, corporate narrations, and national television promos, in addition to narrating dozens of award-winning audio books in her professional career. 

McDonald’s, Target, Cadillac, Lee, Jeans and Dillard’s, Planet Hollywood, Bally’s, Liberty Mutual, and Real Network, as well as Bravo, Lifetime, and A&E are just a few examples of the hundreds of clients that call upon her outstanding talents and unique sound to promote their businesses. 

She was awarded finalist in the esteemed 2009 Voicey Awards for Best Female Voice, and was also recognized as finalist in the Audie 2008 awards. Her many audio book publishers include Random House, McGraw Hill, Blackstone, Harper Collins and Audible. She also serves on the AFTRA Audio Book Steering Committee. 

Vanessa is also a veteran voice coach and demo producer and works regularly from her state-of-the-art recording studio in Los Angeles.

BLOOD BORN
Linda Howard, Linda Jones
Read by Vanessa Hart

Vanessa’s Hart’s throaty, sexy voice and well-paced delivery make her the perfect choice for this dark tale of vampires who are conspiring to conquer the human world by breaking a witch’s curse. The story is packed with fascinating characters who are well portrayed by Hart, including powerful and hunky Luca Ambrus, a vampire born of two vampire parents (“blood born”), and plucky Chloe Fallon, his love interest and a “conduit”—a human who can channel a warrior from another dimension to fight the bloodsuckers. A gaggle of vamps and witches also entertains and provides fodder for several sequels. Fun, campy, full of clever dialogue and interesting lore, this listen delivers. A.C.P. © AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine [Published: SEPTEMBER 2010]

The days of “clackity-clackity-creak-creak-clackity-clackity” are OVER!!

Venables. Out.

We have left The Hole. The tiny apartment that my wife and I have shared since our October wedding. You know, I’m going to miss it a little. And yes, I mean that.

But wait, Venable…what about the pitter-patter of two-year-old, no three-year-old, no four-year-old…oh forget it. They changed the kid’s age every time we attempted to make peace with the waif from upstairs. Yes, I remember the sound like a herd of baby elephants above my head. I also remember the sounds of the mommy-daddy dance above our heads at varying hours of the early-early-morning. And yes, by the way, I am trying to set a personal record for use of hyphenated words.

The fact is, it’s the apartment my wife was living in when I met her. I’ll always remember it, because it was a part of my life and the biggest life change I’ve ever experienced to date. So yeah, I’m going to miss it a little. 

So The Hole is in our past. Finally. It was a long time coming. We vowed to move the moment that the upstairs became ocupada. I thought we’d never get out, to be honest. But then Thursday, everything just exploded. I swear, it’s like everything that Katie and I do is a freaking whirlwind. Our romance, and now the moving. 

So here’s how it went down. Thursday, Katie texts me from work that says, “Urgent news…..on my way home.”

Annnnd my heart skips a beat. About forty-seven different tragic scenarios ran through my head. I quickly texted back, asking if everything was OK, and she responds, “Excellent. Pack your bags.”

And I started breathing again. Still light-headed, I ask her to explain it when she got home. It only really dawned on me what she meant when she walked through the door. She said, “the landlord found someone for the apartment.” I smiled, and for a beat, all was right with the world. And then, that moment was over.

Everything just leapt into a flurry of activity, like the stock exchange scene in Trading Places. Phone calls were made. Furious typing of addresses into Google Chrome (yeah, I’m pimping for Google…shoot me), scribbling of notes, papers flying everywhere, onto the floor near where Katie was talking to everyone under the Dallas skyline, and spewing out of the printer near my location at the studio desk.

In a matter of 45 minutes (make a note of that time-frame), we had chosen an apartment, applied for it, been remotely approved, changed the addresses and account information for the bank, electricity, water, cable, Amazon account (because you gotta have priorities), newspaper, magazine subscriptions, the US Postal Service permanently forwarded to the new address, and made an appointment for a new cable installation at the new place…for the next day. God was smiling upon this new endeavor, all right. How in the world else can you explain starting new cable service in downtown Dallas on Thursday and get an installation appointment on Friday morning? The answer is, “you can’t.”

And remember. This all happened in forty. Five. Minutes.

Seriously. That just happened. And we collapsed on the couch together, laughing about the stroke of good luck and blessings. And then, in the middle of relaxing for about five minutes, I got an e-mail. Katie had gotten a voiceover gig. I just laughed. Like a madman. And I turned to smile at my wife. She just said, “What?!”

I told her.

Then it was her turn to cackle like a madwoman. And we realized we needed to get our butts in gear, because we had to be out of The Hole by Monday. *facepalm*

So the madness begun. And long story shorter, we got it done. Stuff moved, old place cleaned out and cleaned up. And my hands hurt so bad from all the scrubbing on cabinets and drip pans. Oiy.

So here we are. New place. New studio (ugh, more re-tuning). New chapter in our lives. Lots to organize…I mean, we almost have double the square footage.

And we couldn’t be happier. Peace out.

The short version about how a meetup group of Dallas Voice Actors got together and made a radio play of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” and donated it to Reading & Radio Resource of Dallas.

And boy, was it a blast. And difficult…but what isn’t, that’s worth doing?

http://www.voiceoverxtra.com/article.htm?id=qcro12qm

Give it a read. Maybe even a listen. Get the whole shebang here.